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initdb : initialize your database


The initdb command is one of Lino’s utilities for providing application-specific demo data. It performs an initialization of the database, replacing all data by default data loaded from the specified fixtures.

This command removes all existing tables from the database (not only Django tables), then runs Django’s :manage: migrate to create all tables, followed by Django’s loaddata command to load the specified fixtures. and finally runs pm buildcache.

The initdb command performs three actions in one:

  • it flushes the database specified in your settings.py, i.e. issues a DROP TABLE for every table used by your application.

  • it runs Django’s migrate command to re-create all tables,

  • it runs Django’s loaddata command to load the specified fixtures.

For example the command

$ python manage.py initdb std demo demo2

is functionally equivalent to the following series of django-admin commands:

$ python manage.py flush
$ python manage.py migrate
$ python manage.py loaddata std demo demo2
$ python manage.py buildcache

The main difference is that initdb doesn’t ask you to type “yes” followed by RETURN in order to confirm that you really want it. Yes, removing all tables may sound dangerous, but it is actually what we want quite often: when we just want to quickly try this application, or when we are developing a prototype and made some changes to the database structure.

It also adds a warning filter to ignore Django’s warnings about empty fixtures. (See Django ticket #18213).

It reimplements a simplified version of Django’s reset command, without the possibility of deleting only some data (the thing which caused so big problems that Django 1.3. decided to deprecate this command.

Deleting all data and table definitions from a database is not always trivial. It is not tested on PostgreSQL. In MySQL we use a somewhat hackerish and MySQL-specific DROP DATABASE and CREATE DATABASE because even with constraint_checks_disabled we had sporadic errors. See 2015-03-28

We usually don’t use Django’s migration framework, so initdb runs Django’s migrate command with the –run-syncdb option, which “allows creating tables for apps without migrations”. The Django docs add that “While this isn’t recommended, the migrations framework is sometimes too slow on large projects with hundreds of models.” Yes, that’s why we go the non-recommended way :-)

See also the pm prep command and Introduction to demo fixtures.



Do not prompt for user input of any kind.


Remove all files in the MEDIA_ROOT directory.

Lines starting with >>> in this document are code snippets that get tested as part of our development workflow.

>>> import lino
>>> lino.startup('lino_book.projects.min1.settings')
>>> from lino.api.doctest import *
>>> from atelier.sheller import Sheller
>>> shell = Sheller(settings.SITE.project_dir)
>>> shell("django-admin initdb --help")
usage: django-admin initdb [-h] [--noinput] [--removemedia]
                           [--database DATABASE] [--version] [-v {0,1,2,3}]
                           [--settings SETTINGS] [--pythonpath PYTHONPATH]
                           [--traceback] [--no-color] [--force-color]
                           [fixtures ...]

positional arguments:
  fixtures              the fixtures to load

  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  --noinput             Do not prompt for input of any kind.
  --removemedia         Remove all files in the settings.MEDIA_ROOT directory.
  --database DATABASE   Nominates a database to reset. Defaults to the
                        "default" database.
  --version             Show program's version number and exit.
  -v {0,1,2,3}, --verbosity {0,1,2,3}
                        Verbosity level; 0=minimal output, 1=normal output,
                        2=verbose output, 3=very verbose output
  --settings SETTINGS   The Python path to a settings module, e.g.
                        "myproject.settings.main". If this isn't provided, the
                        DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE environment variable will be
  --pythonpath PYTHONPATH
                        A directory to add to the Python path, e.g.
  --traceback           Raise on CommandError exceptions.
  --no-color            Don't colorize the command output.
  --force-color         Force colorization of the command output.
  --skip-checks         Skip system checks.